The Forbidden City may no longer live up to its name and reputation as some magical palace that the great unwashed can only gaze at from afar, but many in this internet age still prefer its secret treasures could be revealed without the need to traverse every inch of its forbidding realm.
Their wish came true in during this year's China International Fair for Trade in Services.
The fair showcased a series of innovative technologies in the digital service industry, including the debut of the second generation of Covid-19 vaccines and the first specific medicine for the virus that has brought the entire world to a virtual standstill.
Held in two halls, the fair's nearly 140,000 square feet of exhibition space took up Beijing's National Convention Center and Shougang Park - the former industrial complex being transformed into venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Representatives from 153 countries and regions and more than 12,000 enterprises took the trouble to make the trip despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The theme for this year's fair was "Towards Digital Future and Service Driven Development," with more than 100 forums and eight exhibitions on cultural and travel, sports, architectural, financial and other services.
One of the top draws was a digital showcase of the historical expanse that is the Forbidden City.
That technological feat was the product of more than 20 years of hard work by the Palace Museum.
It saw the deployment of technologies such as three-dimensional data collection, panorama photography, artificial intelligence-powered smart glasses to offer a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors.
It enabled those who wished to check out every one of the more than 700,000 cultural relics from every conceivable angle at a time when the coronavirus outbreak has subsumed the human hunger for cultural insights beneath the greater need to just survive.
The aim of that endeavor that took two decades is to permanently preserve such a large and precious human cultural heritage in digital form and pass it on and utilize it, Yu Zhuang, the deputy head of the museum's digital and information department told the China Daily.
Environmental protection was not forgotten amid the rush to cultural preservation.
A new procedure enables scrap paper to be turned into brand new recycled papers without the use of any water at all in a three-step production process that takes just five seconds.
Developed by Epson, the system can churn out 720 sheets of A4 paper every hour in a process that is estimated to save 84 trees every year.
And with the world still very much in the throes of the pandemic, China's Sinopharm (1099) has made two groundbreaking advances that may prove telling in the ongoing war on a scourge that has infected the daily lives of billions of people.
One is in the form of a second generation Covid-19 vaccine designed by the state-owned drugmaker.
The drugmaker claims it is the world's first vaccine to target the more contagious Covid variants.
The other is human immunoglobulin developed from the plasma of Covid patients who have recovered.
The drug has gone through clinical trials and has been approved for emergency use both in the mainland and the UAE.
Another advance is a fully automatic nasal swab sampling robot that is said to offer a gentle and much more comfortable experience than that proferred by doctors or nurses. Besides saving time, it helps reduce the risks for health workers at a time when we need them most.